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Discussion in 'Primary' started by Chatterbox1607, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    How do you teach writing over the course of a week? Do you do writing once a week or break it up into modelling text, planning and then the children writing?

    When modelling the text how do you do it? Hope someone can help. Many thanks.
  2. That's a massive question . . . and one that is hard to answer over a forum. Am I correct in thinking you're getting yourself in a bit of a tizz as a new year (perhaps your first???) approaches?[​IMG]

    I'm unsure of the year that you will be planning for, but the general premise is always the same. You cannot expect children to be able to write any sort of new genre (or new sentence type or use adjectives . . . . ) unless they have experience of what it looks like and how someone goes about doing it.

    So firstly they will need lots of good quality reading, and lots of talk around that reading about what the author has done. This will range from, 'Oh look, the author has put a full stop there to show it's the end of a sentence' in Reception to discussion about the use of personification to develop descriptive writing in year 6.

    The next thing you need to think about definitely is modelling. Model, model and then model some more. And when you think you have done it enough, do it one more time. A very basic description of modelling would be that you break down your writing/ thought process and speak it out loud to the pupils. So you may say things like, "H'mm . . . 'The bird flew through the sky' . . no I need to tell you more precisely. The bald eagle - that's more specific - flew through the sky. I can use a better word than 'flew' . . . I know . . .The bald eagle soared through the sky." Show them that adults cross out. Show them that you may underline a word that you're not sure how to spell. Show them it's ok to make additions in and that you ALWAYS stop to reread your work after a sentence or two.

    From there you may do more modelled writing where you involve the class and it becomes more of a shared piece as they can make suggestions and alterations to your writing. Some children may be ready to have a bash at this point, some may need a bit of smaller guided work. Some may need lots!

    There is no magic formula where we can say do 1 week reading, 1 week talking and then 1 week writing. It doesn't work like that - go with the needs of your class.

    This is a good book to have a look at:


    If you really are that unsure about planning writing, if I was your Lit Co-ordinator I would much prefer that you came and asked for some planning help, or to watch me do a modelled write than to hear you've been floundering for a few weeks and worrying about it. You really need to sit down with someone from your school and find out how they want you to do it. Good luck!
  3. alexdoncaster

    alexdoncaster New commenter

    Hi Chatterbox1987,

    I agree with the above point, it's a bit difficult to generalise because it depends on how each school teaches literacy. I think teaching writing is much, much harder than teaching reading. This is because reading is receptive/passive and writing is productive/active. However, a system I used in my last post immediately prior to summer worked quite well. (I was in Year 1)

    I used to teach a genre for around 2 weeks. Generally, I'd do the following:

    2-3 days exploring the texts/talk for writing

    3-4 days modelled, shared and guided writing

    2-3 days independent writing opportunities

    So for instance a unit on Pie Corbett - Gingerbread Man might look something like this:

    2-3 days learn the story, act it out, story map the story

    3-4 days model how to rewrite the story, teach how to include adjectives, full stops, prepositions etc. Guided writing sessions where the chidren rewrote parts of the story with adult input.

    2-3 days independent writing where the children rewrote the story in their blue assessment books

    It's all changing this year as I think we're doing Read Write Inc! :S
  4. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

  5. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

  6. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

    Ive just had a read at the document...very interesting.
  7. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    Thanks I will read over all the posts and documents now :)
  8. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    All of the above is really useful and Pie Corbett is your man, his approach to writing is fab and engaging. Worth looking up some clips seeing him in action and doing his modelled/shared writing with a class.

    How you model writing really depends on your year group and what issues your writers face. I teach Y2 and when I am modelling writing I make mistakes similar to the ones they make- eg always leave out full stops and capital letters, common spelling errors (not too many, maybe focus on a few key words each unit to really NAIL them- words like LIKE, SAID, COULD, HOUSE etc. They love finding my mistakes and coming up and correcting them. Also, ask them to find more interesting words as you write and ALWAYS READ BACK AND CHECK each sentence. I sometimes leave words out of a sentence. This empowers them to correct my work and models the PROCESS of writing, sentence by sentence.

    I often split the class up into small groups and pitch my modelled writing at each group, extending it for the more able (or mostly just letting them get on with it). HTH
  9. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    So when you are modelling say a letter...do you start from scratch and do a similar topic and then once you have started then invite the children to make it better...e.g. shared writing?
  10. alexdoncaster

    alexdoncaster New commenter

    I would probably do letter writing as a stand alone unit for a couple of weeks

    1) Look at different letters; read and explore the features of letters

    2) Model how to write a letter then share write a letter

    3) Independent writing of a letter
  11. And decide exactly what it is you are wanting them to learn. Is it paragraphing? Perhaps it's inclusion of rhetorical questions because you are trying to persuade. What kind of a letter are you wanting the to write . . . And model this.

    For example, last year we were focussing on letters of complaint. I came in very cross one morning because my washing machine had exploded and led to all kind of disasters happening at home. The children promptly watched me model a letter of complaint- complete with crossing out and reworking sentences. The following day, a fellow teacher had experienced a dreadful service at a restaurant and had heard how good we were at writing polite but firm letters. So we shared write that, borrowing sentences and phrases from yesterday's letter that was strung on our working washing line . And on it went . . . So many people needed letters! We then did a unit of work based on the animation 'the hover bike' . . . . a bit of explanation texts, descrpitive writing and a piece of narrative . . . . and one of the independent pieces of writing that they needed to do was a letter of complaint in the shoes of the main character.

    Show the what to do and give them a reason to do it.
  12. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    Can I ask what you would get the children to do as a follow on from your modelled letter? So once you had come in cross and modelled your letter what would their independent activity be? And after the shared write? It's great giving them a real purpose for writing, I bet they loved it!
  13. I think off the top of my head some were highlighting phrases in other letters that I had found that demo'd the language that we had been focussing on to share with the class later for our magpie list (you may have been looking at a sentence level objective - such as using a dropped clause and they need to practise this); others were changing a thoroughly angry (verging on rude) letter to be polite but firm and I would have been doing a guided write moving a group on with whatever their target was. ;-)
  14. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    Thank you. I really enjoyed the letter unit and we did lots of letters for different purposes but I think I spent too long getting them to write different letters so I felt like each lesson was similar to the last. I probably should have done something more like you have outlined. Just to go off on a tangent a bit, do you do guided writing with a different group each session? I've always found it hard as other children always need help and so I keep getting interrupted. Would the group you were with have started writing the letter with you or some other writing?
  15. It depends what kind if guided session it is. If we're doing more of a modelled/ shared session (like a mini shared write but with a small group) then I ensure that what I set the other groups to do is achievable independently. We may be doing another version of the shared because they need it again, but equally it could be the tops and I'm showing them something new to include. More often though to be honest, I tend to start the guided session off with talking through or modelling what we're doing, then give them ten mins to have a bash ( perhaps with a bit of peer assessment) whilst I bob to the other groups and then return. It's not the 'guided' work as per the silly lit hour, but means that I can help more children make more progress.
  16. Myself, our SENCO, Dept Head and Literacy Coordinator got together last year to create a slim down version of the talk4writing literature and principles. If anyone would like a copy including how to plan for talk4writing. Please leave your email address and I would be happy to pass it on.

    It includes;


    Great grammar guide (subject knowledge),

    The 'Talk4Writing' process explained,

    How 'Talk4Writing' might work within your topic work,

    Example of 'Talk4Writing' planning,

    Talk for writing possibilities and ideas,

    How-to-hook-your-reader toolkit,

    Example of text maps,

    Grammar games.


  17. smiley786

    smiley786 New commenter

    Please may i have a copy of the talk4writing materials


  18. sent! Enjoy.
  19. Please may i have a copy? My email address is lovingtheleastthelastandthelost@hotmail.co.uk

    Thank you
  20. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    I've PM'd you.

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